Janet Muehe-Hayward LCSW #23749   (916) 708-0927

My experience

Children and families

I love helping children learn to manage their emotions and their behaviors. 

As parents, it is hard when we are willing to do the hard work of parenting, and yet things just keep getting worse instead of better. So, we read another book, take another class, pray and sometimes even beg our children to “be good”, “stop worrying to much”, “stop crying”, “be nice”.

Or maybe your child is the one who has experienced something that no child should experience. Something that makes you feel like they will be damaged for life … or at least never really “over it”. 

Or maybe you did something to your child that you wish you never would have done. You yelled, or said something in anger, or spanked when you should have hugged, or allowed them to see you do something you shouldn’t have done. 

Parenting is hard. Complicating factors such as divorce, adoption, foster care, trauma (for either child or parent), school failure (or lack of success) can make parenting even more challenging. 

None of us “get it right”. We all make mistakes, some of which keep us awake at night. 

So what do you do now? Well if you are reading this then there is a part of you that already knows. As a therapist, I can help you and/or your child. There is hope. But the time to change is now. If what you are reading here right now is resonating with you then you need to act quickly and with determination. In addition to reaching out to a therapist, I recommend that you reach out to friends/family, your child’s educational staff, and/or your local child protection agency. Begin to build a city of strength and healing around yourself and your child. After making these human contacts and request for support I recommend that you begin reading or listening to Parenting From The Inside Out by Daniel J. Seigel and Mary Hartzell. 

If you trust me with your child I will do my best to help them feel safe and secure during therapy. I will provide an appropriate mixture of structure and freedom so your child can learn the skills they need to overcome whatever is holding them back, whatever is troubling them, whatever is making parenting so hard. 

I have experience working with a large variety of childhood needs. For 12 years I worked in a specialized school program with children who had emotional and behavioral needs that were too severe for a general education school campus to manage. All of these children had Individualize Educational Plans (IEP), and therefore, I am very familiar with the process required for children who are not succeeding academically, socially or behaviorally in school. 

After leaving the school site mentioned above, I continued for an additional 3 years working with children who had IEP’s but who were on a general education campus. 

My next 3 years of working with children and families included those who were receiving services through CPS. These children also had emotional and/or behavioral challenges. During this period of time I saw many parents who had just been overcome by the pressures of their lives, some of whom had experienced abuse during their childhoods. Many of these parents were able to use the services available to them to create a good life for their family which did not include CPS.


Are you a teenager looking for your own counselor? Someone who is willing to listen without making demands and judging you. Someone who believes that you know yourself better than anyone. Someone who realizes that there is often more than one path to a desired outcome. If that is the case then good for you! I don’t have to tell you that life can be very difficult.

Today’s expectations for performance and conformity are huge. If you have a complicated family it can be even more difficult.

Maybe your relationships with family members are great, but you or someone else in your family struggles with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse and/or you just can’t seem to understand each other. If that is the case I have good news and bad news for you.

First the good news. I have a lot of experience working with teens. I find that teens learn to trust me because I encourage them to be themselves and find their own answers. Together we will figure out what you want your time to look like. Maybe you enjoy having your choice of music in the session. Maybe you don’t like to talk much, but would prefer to use the creative arts to express yourself (Click to read more about Creative Arts), maybe you feel more comfortable walking and talking vs being in the office or … I don’t know, but I hope you will tell me.

Next, the bad news. I can’t fix you or your situation. Yep that’s right I can’t. I don’t even think it’s my job to fix you or your situation. But I can help you figure out what isn’t working the way you want it to, or what is working and how to get it to work more often. 

I will truly listen to you. I will give you time to trust me. If you want, I will help you learn some new skills to manage overwhelming feelings. If you want I will help you identify how what you do, gets you closer to the life you want or moves you away from the life you want. 

If you’re looking for your own therapist, you must feel like something isn’t quite right. I’m here and willing.


I recently took and informal survey regarding women’s roles. It was a fast survey but I had upwards of 100 distinctive roles identified. Some were obvious: mother, daughter, sister, friend, enemy, wife, ex-something, employee, employer, business person, mentor, financial planner, teacher, social planner, interior designer, mediator, timekeeper, driver, coach, mentor etc. Some were less obvious: belly roll laugh maker, tucker inner, innovator, carpenter, mechanic, landscaper, philosopher. You may be a combination of these roles listed. But it is just as likely you are in a role that wasn’t even mentioned. 

As women, we must go in and out of our roles constantly. This can be exhausting, especially when our roles conflict with one another. 

May be you feel like you can’t fulfill your roles no matter how hard you try. You may feel disempowered, invisible, disrespected, unlovable, misunderstood, trapped or hopeless. You may struggle with anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, lack of energy, anger and/or emotional reactivity. 

Maybe you don’t want to be in the role you are in, but feel stuck and as if it will never change. 

Maybe you want to learn how to set boundaries, give a calm rational response to irrational behavior or maybe you want to learn to value, accept and understand yourself. 

Maybe you want to learn to connect and trust, trustworthy people, or create space between yourself and untrustworthy people. 

Maybe you want to be able to take a risk, stop isolating, except help, learn to express your wants and needs or …. 

Therapy will not change “anything” in your environment AND yet it will change “everything” in your environment. 

You see when any one person in a relationship or environment changes, the whole relationship and/or environment changes. 

Remember the survey I mentioned above. 

Some of the response were even harder. They included: victim, oppressed, weak, sexualized, objectified, gold digger, unintelligent, hormonal, less than, inferior … 

Maybe you have been verbally or physically beaten down, abused and/or mistreated. 

Maybe you have internalized negative messages about yourself that began in your childhood. Messages that didn’t even seem negative at the time, but now they are holding you back and making you feel weak and small and incapable. 

If this describes you then I want to tell you that you deserve more. Not from a women’s lib ‘er stand point, but from a human to human standpoint. 

No one deserves to be abused, belittled or made to feel less than they were created to be. You deserve good things. It’s time for a change.

I can help you face and work through life stressors, relational conflicts (internal and external) and/or past experiences which cause you distress. I can help you figure out what you want and if needed make difficult life choices. I can help you learn skills to manage overwhelming emotions and learn to make choices you are proud of. 

If you are reading this now it is likely that you are the one experiencing pain and discomfort. You are the one looking for a change. So let that change start today. See where it takes you. You have nothing to lose. I’m here and willing. Let’s connect.

Breakdown of my experience:

12 Years within a specialized program for children with significant emotional and behavioral challenges. This program was specifically for children who emotional and/or behavioral challenges significantly interfered with their ability to remain on a traditional educational site.

3 Years providing educationally based mental health services which were linked to the child's IEP (Individualized Educational Plan).

3 Years working with families represented within both the Child Welfare System and Children’s Mental Health.

I have developed curriculums and facilitated groups for children, parents and adolescents. I hope to be able to offer some groups in 2017.

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